On Tuesday the 28th of November 2023, the St George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral Bible Studies Group were blessed to be joined by Archimandrite Ephram Abbassi. He presented an inspiring and insightful talk on the Father and Son Saints, Nicholas and Habib Khasha, whose sainthood was recently announced by the Holy Synod on 19 October 2023.

The talk explored the lives of these two Damascene priests, who were martyred for the faith in the last century. St Nicholas served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Damascus before being delegated by the Patriarch to Mersin – a region that had been abandoned due to poverty and other disturbances. We learnt of how Fr Nicholas successfully reunited and strengthened the faithful of the area, leading to frustration among the Turkish authorities. This resulted in slanderous accusations against him, which led to his arrest, torture and ultimate martyrdom.

St Habib followed in his father’s footsteps – he was ordained to the priesthood and served as a priest in Damascus and Cairo. He led a life of prayer and self-sacrifice – caring for the poor with what little he and his family had. He was martyred on his way to Mount Hermon, where he was attacked and beaten to death for being a priest.

The life and martyrdom of these two modern, family-oriented Saints serves as an example to Christians today, demonstrating how we too can abandon worldly desires in pursuit of Christ. A big thank you to Father Ephram for enlightening us on the lives of these two inspiring Saints.